Yusuf Pathan: From Cricket Star to Political Challenger in Baharampur

Yusuf Pathan: From Cricket Star to Political Challenger in Baharampur

Former Indian cricketer Yusuf Pathan, now a Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate for the Baharampur Lok Sabha seat, is determined to make a mark in politics and connect with the people of the constituency. Having retired from all forms of cricket in February 2021, Pathan feels a growing sense of strength and confidence with each passing day in Baharampur.

“I am blessed to have come to a place where people are telling me, ‘aap ko hum yahan se jaane nahi denge’ (we won’t let you leave us),” said Pathan, known for his towering sixes. “People here have already accepted me as their son, brother, or friend. I will stick with them no matter the outcome of the polls. I will be with them for a better future they deserve. These people are my strength, and ‘inshallah,’ I will win.”

Pathan is contesting against Congress veteran and incumbent Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who has held the Baharampur seat for 25 years. Pathan respects Chowdhury’s experience but believes that the people of Baharampur are dissatisfied with his absence from the grassroots during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People here allege that Mr. Chowdhury failed to bring in the required central grants to create infrastructure and employment opportunities,” said Pathan. “There’s not enough work for people, and the MP of 25 years should answer people why he failed.”

Pathan has identified several priority areas for his work if elected, including creating job opportunities to retain migrant workers, building a world-class sports complex, developing infrastructure for local silk, thermocol, and jute industry workers, and creating a support system for farmers.

“I have a lot of work to do here,” said Pathan. “I have figured that out in my short presence in the region, during my poll campaigns and interactions with people.”

Pathan’s entry into politics was a surprise to many, but he says it was a natural progression after his cricketing career ended. “Cricket toh khatam ho gaya, kuch toh karna tha (my cricketing days were over, and I had to do something),” he said.

Pathan consulted with his family and friends before accepting the TMC’s offer. He realized that politics could be an opportunity to serve the people and give back to society what he earned in terms of love and respect during his cricketing days.

Pathan maintains that he has been familiar with Mamata Banerjee’s politics for over a decade, particularly since he began playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL in 2011. He believes that Banerjee’s civic infrastructure developments in Kolkata and her work in areas of women’s education and poverty alleviation made it easy for him to accept her offer.

Pathan dismisses the notion that his religious identity as a devout Muslim gives him an edge in a Muslim-majority seat like Baharampur. “I have respect for every religion in this country, but people should not be treated as vote banks based on their religious identities,” he said. “Elections should be fought for both majority and minority communities, not for one or the other. The priority should be the growth of the economy and development of people so that we can build a future for our next generation.”

Despite bidding adieu to professional cricket, Pathan remains deeply attached to the sport. He believes that his identity as a cricketer will continue to dominate his newfound love for politics. “Both my identities are important, none of which I can hide,” he said. “But, people will always consider me a cricketer first. They have seen me play and loved me for my performances in the middle. Now, they can expect me to serve them as one of their own.”

Yusuf Pathan Enters Politics, Contests Lok Sabha Polls from Baharampur

Yusuf Pathan Enters Politics, Contests Lok Sabha Polls from Baharampur

Former Indian cricket all-rounder Yusuf Pathan has embarked on a new chapter in his life, announcing his candidacy for the Lok Sabha elections from the Baharampur constituency under the banner of the Trinamool Congress (TMC). This move has sent shockwaves through the political landscape, as Baharampur has traditionally been a Congress stronghold.

Pathan’s decision to enter politics has been met with mixed reactions. His brother, former India cricketer Irfan Pathan, expressed his support on social media, praising Yusuf’s compassion and dedication to serving others. However, Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who currently represents Baharampur, questioned the TMC’s motives, suggesting that Pathan’s nomination was a ploy to polarize voters and benefit the BJP.

The TMC’s decision to field Pathan in Baharampur is seen as a strategic move to challenge the Congress’s dominance in the region. The TMC and Congress are part of the INDIA alliance, but seat-sharing negotiations have stalled in Bengal. The TMC is believed to have offered Baharampur and another seat to the Congress, but the grand old party demanded a larger share.

Pathan’s entry into politics has added a new dimension to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Bengal. His popularity as a cricketer and his reputation for social work could potentially sway voters in his favor. However, he will face a tough challenge from Chowdhury, who has a strong base in Baharampur and is known for his vocal opposition to the TMC government.

The outcome of the Baharampur contest will be closely watched, as it could have implications for the overall political landscape in Bengal. If Pathan is successful, it will be a major setback for the Congress and a boost for the TMC. Conversely, a victory for Chowdhury would reaffirm the Congress’s hold on Baharampur and deal a blow to the TMC’s ambitions.

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